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To everyone else, I'm always the pretty black girl with the huge smile. That's my coping mechanism. If the layers were peeled back they'd also see a woman who suffers with an unpredictable skin disease (HS). I was a newly married bride going into life so optimistic until my husband and I discovered this pimple like bump in my groin. I set up an obgyn appointment just knowing we'd get to the bottom of it. Long story short, I had a doctor come into my room and exam me. He immediately looks up and sternly says "Already being unfaithful huh, you have a STD". Needles to say, my husband was hurt and I was left broken. It took me several years to go back again and the disease had progressed immensely. I'm now stage 3 and have seen all the struggles that come along with having a disease that is invisible to the medical profession. Not a day goes by that I don't wonder how long will life be life that I can endure like this. A cure is my only hope. Until then, I'll put on the beautiful black lady with the smile label and fight silently to keep on living.

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